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tv   Civil War Battle Flags  CSPAN  January 18, 2015 2:19pm-2:26pm EST

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, and it is an important note that a few days later he would issue the emancipation proclamation. for abraham lincoln, the issuing of west virginia statehood followed by the emancipation proclamation is a one-to political punch. wheeling is the first capital of the new state of west virginia from 1863 until 1870. then it will go to charleston. there it will be for five years. they will bring it back to wheeling for the second time in 1875, and it will remain there for the next 10 years until 1885 and then it goes back to charleston. it was known as the floating capital because it went up and down the river. the customhouse was never the capital of west virginia, but for gw's it was the capital of the commonwealth of virginia -- that means the whole state, from
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charleston to the chesapeake. if you are loyal to the union then this was your government. wheeling was your capital and this was your government. if you are loyal to the union. if you are not, you recognized the government in richmond. the richmond government did not recognize this government, this government did not recognize the richmond government. the important thing is the united states of america recognize the restored government in wheeling as the legitimate government of virginia. by the way, that brings up an important point. this is the only city in our nation that can say it was the capital of two different states. it is incredibly important story. it is important story not just for wheeling, not just for west virginia. this is an important story for
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our nation's history, because it is unprecedented. it had to do with the terrible tragedy of the american civil war. but again, when you are presented with opportunities you have to take them. >> all weekend american history tv is featuring wheeling, west virginia. in 1818, the historical national road -- the historic national road crossed the ohio river. it contributed to westward expansion during the 19th century. hosted by our comcast cable partners, c-span's cities tour staff recently visited many sites showcasing the city's history. learn more about wheeling all weekend here on american history tv. >> we are here on the second
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floor of west virginia independence hall where we are very proud to showcase the repository for all of our surviving civil war battle flags. these flags are the real deal. they were an actual civil war battles carried by our west virginia troops. we had 12 flags with union troops. we do have one captured confederate flag. we have conserved our flags and put them in climate controlled cases where they will remain in perpetuity and safekeeping. we have a list of those killed and how they were killed. the list of those killed by disease is always higher than those killed in action. we have the artillery the cavalry, horseback and big guns. the regimental flag, carried by
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the regimental color behr. this individual was chosen to carry the flag as an honor. he would carry that flag into the battle straight at the enemy. not only was that flag a source of pride for these troops, but it also communicated on the battlefield. amid the smoke and noise and confusion of a civil war battlefield, if you get lost, you get confused, you look for the flag, you rally to your regiment's flag. i think it is important to point out color bearers at a high mortality rate. many of them were killed or injured during the civil war and i have no doubt some of our flags were carried by men who lost their lives in carrying them. this is a very important flag. this is the flag of the seventh virginian inventory -- infantry
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called the bloody seven, so-called because they lost mormon then -- more men than any other regiment from west virginia. you can see the battles that they were in. antietam. at gettysburg. chancellorsville. fredericksburg. these were major engagements during the conflict and the seventh west virginia suffered heavily because of them. importantly, the seventh west virginia lags and the flags of our first cavalry, both of these flags happen to be at appomattox courthouse the day that robert e lee -- robert e. lee surrendered. we know a proximally 40,000 west virginia spot in the conflict. recent scholarship has updated those numbers to indicate those who fought for the confederacy. we now approximately 20,000 west
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virginia and troops fought for the union and approximately 20,000 fought for the confederacy. we weren't equally divided state, -- we were and equally divided state, perhaps the most divided state in the union. this is one of those commemorative flags made shortly after the war's conclusion. you can see it is in pristine condition. also, you can read our state motto -- mountaineers are always free. we do have one captured confederate flag from the battle of lynchburg. this is the confederate national flag. it is known as the stars and bars. a lot of folks come here expecting to see the crossed flag the confederate battle flag. this is the national flag of the confederacy. and again, all our flags are in climate controlled cases

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